Discovery of Brazilians can help in the treatment of diseases like Parkinson's and Stroke The Day



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Rio – Could the force of thought really be powerful in curing illness? The positive response comes no more from popular beliefs, but from science. A study conducted by Brazilian scientists at the D'Or Institute for Research and Teaching (IDOR) and UFRJ has shown that areas of the brain responsible for movement are triggered in the same way when the body is in action or at rest. That is, it is possible to modify the brain activity, only with the imagination, in record time of little more than 30 minutes. For researchers, the finding opens doors to possible improvements in the treatment of neurological or psychiatric disorders, such as stroke, Parkinson's and depression.

The study was published in a prestigious journal of the scientific world, NeuroImage. Monitored by computer software, 36 volunteers underwent experiments on an MRI. They were asked to make certain movements while they were inside the equipment, such as moving one hand. At other times, they should stand still, imagining as if they were performing such an action. The program tried to identify when people were standing or moving, but the recorded neural signals indicated that they moved most of the time. The technique is called neurofeedback ('back response').

"It is an interesting finding to investigate how to break the silence of the brain to recover movements that are compromised by diseases such as stroke. In relation to other diseases that also alter brain functioning, such as depression, we believe that neurofeedback can be effective in restoring behavior cerebral, "says neuroscientist Theo Marins, a doctoral student at IDOR.

The experiments were performed with healthy people. Now the challenge of science around the world is to test on patients to confirm whether treatments can really progress with brain training. "The more people understand how the brain works and changes, the more we can develop or apply more effective therapies," says Fernanda Tovar Moll, president of IDOR.

When comparing the brain structure before and after the tests, the scientists also observed that the corpus callosum – the main brain bridge responsible for communication between sensitive and motor areas in the right and left hemispheres – became more robust. For the authors, it was as if the system had grown stronger.

According to Marins, the scientific community already knew that brain activity changes with different stimuli in up to two hours, but not in record time of less than one hour. "Knowing that brain activity is so dynamic is important for us to understand which strategies are best suited to modify the brain in our favor to treat diseases," adds the doctoral student.

Study already excites a lot of people

The discovery was received with hope by people afflicted with various diseases and by those who live with patients who report similar experiences. "My aunt with an early stage tumor put on her head that it would heal and improved. I would not say it was only because of this, she also had treatment, but the thought may have helped, "believes the student Lucas Fernandes, 21 years.

"For people who live with life and death all the time, I believe that thinking can help in disease, as a force," said Eunice Monteiro, 47, a nurse for ten years.

Samara Marques, 32, tries to apply positive thinking against depression diagnosed four years ago. "I think it is possible to help overcome, but not alone," he says.

* Collaborated the trainee Luana Dandara

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